BRYAN THOMAS. Soul rock singer songwriter. Albany, New York.

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Talking head total hacks talking smack with fake facts made him mo black gave you a heart attack...

Inspired in no small part by the ongoing nonsense that is the race for the presidency in 2008 - including this gem. So mad about it I had to play drums.

Direct download: 080427_kick_01.mp3
Category:Demos -- posted at: 3:00 AM

Prepare for the boomerang of history. Keep a steel helmet handy.

I've had a rough recording of the chords and melody on my PDA for a couple of months now. The rough lyrics were going nowhere until I stumbled on a reference to the prologue to Ellison's Invisible Man, and it became a very different song. Enjoy.

Direct download: 080127light.mp3
Category:Demos -- posted at: 2:25 AM

This groove came to me in a dream (duh). About a year ago. As a mother was chasing me through a mall with her young child. I was racing to get to my little MP3 recorder. And then I woke up. There's a sleepy version of me trying to re-create the groove with my mouth saved on my PDA, followed by me trying to make sense of the nonsense of what was going on in the dream. Somehow the mother in the dream became "Mary, Mother of God" - and, as they say in the biz, the rest wrote itself.
Direct download: 071005dreamsong.mp3
Category:Demos -- posted at: 12:39 PM

Co-write with Zoe. She came up with the words and melody for the first verse about a year ago - at age 3. The rest wrote itself. 50 percent novelty song, 50 percent The Story of My Life in Two Minutes.
Direct download: 071005mind.mp3
Category:Demos -- posted at: 12:36 PM

Screw your courage to the sticking place

Believe it or not, this is a co-write with a 4-year-old. We were in the car after soccer practice and Zoe was washing her hands with a wet-wipe post-popsicle when she blurted out the main melody for the verse and the chorus, all at once, with that curious off-beat: "Give me another wipe: I'm still sticky, my hands are still sticky!" I raced home, grabbed the Tele, and turned it into Lady Macbeth. If you picture Lady Mac being played by the First Lady instead of Dame Judy I won't hold it against you. Note: The beat box was killing me in a bad way - so I re-mixed without it. I would go all Macbeth on Duncan with someone to be able to do this with a real band. Oh well.

Direct download: 070923sticky.mp3
Category:Demos -- posted at: 11:44 AM

Jean Luc's been looking for the muse. Julia's been looking for the muse. And her name is Jennifer. Where's she been hiding? She ain't been turning tricks downtown again, has she? Ashes to ashes, funk to funky - we know Jenny's just a junkie. My hand drumming is worse than the beat box. Oh well.

Direct download: 070923boomchicka.mp3
Category:Demos -- posted at: 11:41 AM

In your own backyard, in your hometown...

From the Step It Up! Capital event, April 14, 2007, Albany, New York. Written by the great Mr. Steve Earle, performed by l'il ole me.

Direct download: 070415revolutionstartsnow.mp3
Category:Covers -- posted at: 2:01 PM

Shot on location at Tess' Lark Tavern. Directed by Carl Liss. Produced by GoPicture Productions and Bionic Media.

Category:Video -- posted at: 5:29 PM

Who's that girl? We'll never tell.

Category:Video -- posted at: 5:25 PM

Call it familiarity...

A l'il tribute to Mr. Troy Pohl of the Kamikaze Hearts. An oldie but goodie. Recorded live at the recent Why Can't I Be You show.

Direct download: 061029whycantibeyou4__tornadoes.mp3
Category:Covers -- posted at: 12:43 PM

You look so good on paper... centerfold constitution...

More beatbox-solo-acoustic fun from the recent Unity Stage show. The actual beat was stolen from a song on the Ones and Zeros record. Guess which tune.

Direct download: 060925loveamericanstyle.mp3
Category:Live -- posted at: 3:05 AM

The longer it takes the better it feels when you get there.

I dusted off the old beat box - Boss DR-202 a.k.a. "Dr. Groove" - for the September 2006 Unity Stage show. Dr. Groove was the heartbeat for the Radio Plastic Jennifer album - but oddly enough, "Liquefy" was one of the few tracks on that record that was strictly acoustic. Enjoy.

Direct download: 060918liquefy.mp3
Category:Live -- posted at: 4:01 AM

Freedom falling rushing down, down, down... we collide.

Written and recorded for the Ones and Zeros album on a sweltering hot day in the summer of 2001. The lyrics didn't make much sense at the time beyond a general emptiness I felt in my gut. They made a lot more sense the day the towers fell. Namaste.

Direct download: 060911fallen.mp3
Category:Official Releases -- posted at: 4:01 AM

We'll have cartoon sex like Diznee

How did I wind up buying a Telecaster in 2000? I did a Joni Mitchell tribute show in New Orleans with the old band that summer. Goofy airlines wouldn't let me bring the acoustic guitar on the plane. Borrowed show organizer Michael Paz's Fender to use that night. It rocked. Bought an electric shortly thereafter. So the Tele Sessions are a handful of demos of songs written with the new guitar. The warm-up for the Ones and Zeros record. The four-track cassette special. And why "Diznee?" I was improvising lyrics. They were ridiculous, but something told me to go with it. And "diznee" rhymed. And apropos, in light of recent reports. (Note: Keep your mouse ears open for the musicial D.N.A. of "Jennifer.")

Direct download: 060909diznee.mp3
Category:Rare Studio Recordings -- posted at: 1:35 PM

I'm a little black boy crying in a blue sky...

This cover of Joni Mitchell's "Black Crow" is also from Wafers and Wine, but it was originally recorded on a cassette 4-track for 1997's A Tape of You, a collection of covers by Joni's Internet fans. Legend has it that a copy of it made its way to Joni, which is why I tacked the "Joni's gonna hate this" bit at the end, with the sample of her laughing. Saw her two years later playing "Black Crow" at the Day in the Garden Woodstock reunion show, summer of '98. With my hero Brian Blade on the drums. And my head exploded. I had a sober hallucination that she was singing "black boy" instead of "black crow," just like in my version. And my head exploded again.

Direct download: 060813_black_crow.mp3
Category:Covers -- posted at: 4:00 AM

Different colors are made of tears.

Phil and Sandra from Changing Spaces were looking to do a one-night show of erotic-themed art at Valentine's - appropriately, on Valentine's Day. I took it as an opportunity to do some of my own more, um, playful songs, ("Tiresias," "Liquefy," "Camera") but also as an opportunity to do some covers (Prince's "Dirty Mind" and "Erotic City," Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On.") This cover of the Velvet Underground's "Venus in Furs" was supposed to be a medley with Erotic City - but in the end I really wanted to crank the overdrive and the delay, and slow it down, so they didn't work as well together. Some of the folks in the room may have been talking over it, as you'll hear, but that didn't mean I had any less fun playing it. And I've always loved the juxtaposition of the "dream" verse with the darker imagery of the rest of the song, so the last, quiet verse is probably my favorite bit.

Direct download: 060807_venus_in_furs.mp3
Category:Covers -- posted at: 4:01 AM

Come unto these yellow sands...

This song was also written for the Carl Liss film Apt. D. The music and the first line came to me in a dream. I finished it the next day, on the can, with the help of a copy of the Complete Works of William Shakespeare. Check the Bluff Notes on 'Seachange' for the full story.

Direct download: 060730_seachange.mp3
Category:Rare Studio Recordings -- posted at: 4:02 AM

Little dead children sing A... B... C...

Eons before my good friend/arch-enemy Carl Liss made the video for the song Babylon, he made a feature-length film called Apt D. And just as he did with the Babylon video, he held a gun to my head until I relented to become involved with the project. Working just from the script I wrote songs loosely based on each of the four main characters, plus a title track to pull it all together. Bought myself a state-of-the-art (for 1997) 4-track cassette recorder and recorded and mixed and remixed about 400 versions of each song for Carl to use as the score. Some of the songs also saw the light of day in the 1998 cassette-only release Wafers and Wine: Songs from the Film Apt. D. This is the aforementioned title track. Enjoy
Direct download: 060730_apartment_d.mp3
Category:Rare Studio Recordings -- posted at: 4:01 AM

So what's a black boy to do except to sing for a soul rock band?

The "Street Fighting Man" at Valentine's was much better, but the noise seepage renders the audio unlistenable. This audio was recorded a few weeks later, at the Lark Street Book Shop's annual holiday party, December 2005. Unfortunately, it was also the book shop's last holiday party. Another great little room in Albany bites the dust. Sigh.
Direct download: 060717_street_fighting_man.mp3
Category:Covers -- posted at: 12:29 AM

I'll be your knight in shining armor...

I wanted to launch this audio blog thang with the full set from a Stones tribute show fundraiser at Valentine's last fall, but the audio for the first two songs was obliterated by the noise seeping through the ceiling. Big metal. I've got nothing against big metal, of course, I just tend to lose a volume contest when I'm playing the acoustic. You can get a sense of how loud it was that night during the first verse of the third and final song of my set, "Emotional Rescue." Thankfully the band upstairs ended their set just I was was beginning the second verse. So have at it.
Direct download: 060717_emotional_rescue.mp3
Category:Covers -- posted at: 12:14 AM

Sam

upstate girls

Uncle SamI spent the better part of yesterday morning entranced by this award winning photo essay by Brenda Ann Kenneally. In bed. On my handheld. Via the obligatory a.m. stop at Albany Eye. And the whole time I'm asking myself: What would Uncle Sam think of the Troy of today? I feel a song coming on.

UPDATE: The song is called Sam. Cuz Uncle Sam wants you. To explain yourself.

Direct download: 060319_sam.mp3
Category:Demos -- posted at: 2:22 AM